Video game lovers are treated to a new generation of consoles every three to five years. In this regard, gaming is unlike any other creative form—like it’s if someone devised a new method to enjoy music or movies every few years. Authentic, technology has advanced in all mediums over the decades. However, gaming is built on these so-called console generations.
At any one time, three huge corporations compete for the attention of players: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. We’ve seen massive systems from Sega, Atari, Intellivision, and others in the past, but the big three now completely dominate the console market. And, as the firms compete for dominance, each studio’s success ebbs and flows.
In the 1990s, Sega and Nintendo competed. In the early 2000s, Microsoft’s Xbox’s online features revolutionized the game.
The struggle is now on between the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, both of which are vying for a place in the gaming pantheon. (Of course, the Nintendo Switch has already proven its worth.)
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1. Wii U
Wii U, you miserable thing. Between its predecessor, the Wii, and its successor, the Nintendo Switch, it became lost. I was never given a fair chance.
The console, which had a touchpad controller and a display, debuted with a moderately lackluster lineup of games. (Who wants to play Transformers Prime?) Then no one… bought the Wii U. If you need some background, the Switch has already sold more systems than the Wii U.
The Wii U did, however, pave the way for an all-timer in the Switch, so Nintendo’s 21st-century middle child’s efforts were not in vain. —B.L.
2. Xbox Series X
To be fair, the Xbox Series X is only behind the PlayStation 5, which was released around the same time. And it has the potential to skyrocket in the coming years.
The Xbox Series X has a lot going for it this early on. To begin, it is the champion of backward compatibility.
Xbox Game Pass and its 400-game catalogue continue to reign supreme. However, with the Series X coming sans Halo: Infinite and lacking a look-at-me upgrade, the PlayStation 5 once again takes the gaming crown. —B.L.
3. PlayStation 5
Again, the PlayStation 5 has the potential to quickly climb this list in the future years. It’s just that in console years, it’s a baby. Sure, it has all the oh-shit graphics and tech specs you could possibly want. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Spider-Man:
Miles Morales and even Astro’s Playroom were all excellent, if restricted, launch titles. But that hasn’t been the case with the PS5. That is, there are still not enough consoles available! Because the product is usually out of stock, not enough individuals have the means to decide the PS5’s legacy. Sony, feed the gamers. —B.L.
4 Nintendo Wii
It’s no secret that I run all Wii Sports fan accounts and groups. And, to be honest, the Wii deserves to be on this list solely for Wii Sports.
The Wii was a watershed moment in the gaming industry, not because of gimmicks and motion controls, but because it renormalized gaming.
Everyone, including children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents, knew what it was and how to pick it up and play with it.
With its family-friendly, “let’s bond over gaming” mentality, it was the hottest item on the market. The Wii made gaming more accessible to everyone.
It also had a fantastic library, including some of the best Mario titles (Smash, Mario Kart) as well as numerous remakes and new IPs, making it a near-perfect system for gamers.
5 Sega Genesis
Sega entered the game in 1989, hoping to be the hipper, cooler alternative to Nintendo’s more kid-friendly programming. And, while it may appear to be an odd choice now, Sega relied on it for many years.
Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, and Earthworm Jim all helped to widen the industry’s scope. These games captured the essence of the ’90s, and while the Genesis or its precursor, the Master System, aren’t as well-known as Nintendo’s seminal platforms, they left an impression.
The Genesis sold 35 million units, which was more than the Nintendo 64. —D.N.
It was a tight call between the original Xbox and the 360, but we believed that the original’s freshness edged out the newer model.
The first Xbox console launched Microsoft’s now-colossal gaming empire and introduced the globe to the massively successful Halo franchise.
Above all, the first Xbox changed the way we now play online with Xbox Live. It was a huge gaming accomplishment that made such an impact that its online procedures are now industry standards. —C.S.
Contrary to popular belief, the Sony PS1 was released before the Nintendo 64. While Nintendo’s 1996 console is widely considered as the machine that propelled the industry into the third dimension, it was the PS1 that accelerated everything in 1995.
Sony’s platform introduced gamers to 3D gaming with titles such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII. It provided hilarious kid games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon while also taking a more serious, mature approach to the industry.
The PlayStation 1 was a seminal platform. However, it was ultimately eclipsed by its significantly superior sequel, the PlayStation 2. —D.N.
The SNES is still considered the gold standard of video gaming consoles by many. It pushed the industry into the 16-bit space, boasting forward-thinking visuals and even some crude 3D. The SNES’s most remarkable feature was its seemingly limitless collection of innovative games.
Super Mario World rewrote the platformer book. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past invented a genre. There’s also Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid, Star Fox, Super Mario Kart, and so on.
People are rediscovering the brilliance of the Super Nintendo with the addition of the SNES library to the Nintendo Switch’s online service. I envy people who are only now getting the opportunity to play it for the first time.
9. PlayStation 4
Prior to the PS5, the PS4 dominated the console wars after the PlayStation 3 trailed the Xbox 360, and it’s easy to understand why.
Just look at its massive catalogue of exclusives, which includes everything from God of War to Spider-Man and titles like the Final Fantasy VII remake, Death Stranding, and The Last of Us 2.
Throughout its lifespan, the exclusives just kept coming. Furthermore, it was the first system to include a “real” VR headset—sorry, Labo—that performed well for a considerably lower price than the likes of Vive. The PlayStation 4 offered adaptability as well as a fantastic library. —C.S.
10. Nintendo Switch
After years of obscurity with the badly selling Wii U, Nintendo appeared to be following in Sega’s footsteps by ceasing production of consoles and instead distributing its titles to the superior platforms of the day. But then Nintendo surprised everyone by releasing the Switch.
When it was first revealed in October 2016, not everyone was sold on the idea of a console that could also function as a portable handheld. But with major titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it seemed difficult for gamers not to embrace Nintendo’s strange new idea. And gamers choose to participate. The Switch is still selling like hotcakes, and with
After the Atari nearly brought the market to its knees, the NES platform radically revitalised at-home gaming. This was the starting point for many of gaming’s most popular franchises, with some of the biggest names in video games, such as Zelda, Kirby, and, of course, Mario, earning their humble beginnings on the grey brick.
There’s a reason these games keep getting re-released: they’re still a lot of fun and addictive. The NES console itself had a large library and little competition (until Sega entered the market), as well as some cutting-edge technology, such as the in-home light cannon for Duck Hunt. Almost everything about this 35-year-old console is still in good condition. —C.S.
12. PlayStation 2
This console included games. There are so many games. Every kind of game. Whatever game you desired. Great shooters, excellent licenced games, the only truly good Bond games since GoldenEye, incredible RPGs, races, open worlds, GTAs, Kingdom Hearts, TimeSplitters…everything.
Except for Halo, everything in gaming at the time was available. The graphics felt incredible, and the new DualShock and quality-of-life enhancements from the PS1 made it exceptional.
The PS2 system was also notoriously easy to build for, allowing for a plethora of titles hitherto unseen on a console. Many of my favourite games now, as well as many others, lived on this console, easily earning it the top spot on this list. —C.S.
13. Nintendo 64
The Nintendo 64 characterized our childhoods for those of us who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. Though Sony’s PS1 was essential in bringing gaming into 3D, it was the N64 that truly demonstrated the range of experiences that 3D games could provide to consumers.
Mario 64 established 3D platforming as an art form in and of itself. And The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was probably the first masterpiece in gaming.
Though the N64’s controller was clumsy, the cartridges were unwieldy, and the console could occasionally barely run its more demanding titles, the inventive and forward-thinking N64 remains the industry’s peak. And no, you won’t be able to beat me in GoldenEye. —D.N.